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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky














The Iconoclast

Sunday, 25 November 2007
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What seemed an easy victory to start with in both Afghanistan and Iraq has turned into a situation in which we are going to have to recognize the strength of Islam and realize we cannot weaken it by military means alone.

WaPo: A White House assessment of the war in Afghanistan has concluded that wide-ranging strategic goals that the Bush administration set for 2007 have not been met, even as U.S. and NATO forces have scored significant combat successes against resurgent Taliban fighters, according to U.S. officials.

The evaluation this month by the National Security Council followed an in-depth review in late 2006 that laid out a series of projected improvements for this year, including progress in security, governance and the economy. But the latest assessment concluded that only "the kinetic piece" -- individual battles against Taliban fighters -- has shown substantial progress, while improvements in the other areas continue to lag, a senior administration official said.

This judgment reflects sharp differences between U.S. military and intelligence officials on where the Afghan war is headed. Intelligence analysts acknowledge the battlefield victories, but they highlight the Taliban's unchallenged expansion into new territory, an increase in opium poppy cultivation and the weakness of the government of President Hamid Karzai as signs that the war effort is deteriorating.

The contrasting views echo repeated internal disagreements over the Iraq war: While the military finds success in a virtually unbroken line of tactical achievements, intelligence officials worry about a looming strategic failure.

"There is a key debate going on now between the military -- especially commanders on the ground -- and the intelligence community and some in the State Department about how we are doing," said one Afghanistan expert who has consulted with the National Security Council as it continues to "comb through conflicting reports" about the conflict.

Over the past year, all combat encounters against the Taliban have ended with "a very decisive defeat" for the extremists, Brig. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., commander of the U.S. task force training the Afghan army, told reporters this month. The growing number of suicide bombings against civilians underscores the Taliban's growing desperation, according to Livingston and other U.S. commanders.

But one senior intelligence official, who like others interviewed was not authorized to discuss Afghanistan on the record, said such gains are fleeting. "One can point to a lot of indicators that are positive . . . where we go out there and achieve our objectives and kill bad guys," the official said. But the extremists, he added, seem to have little trouble finding replacements.

Although growing numbers of foreigners -- primarily Pakistanis -- are joining the Taliban ranks, several officials said the primary source of new recruits remains disaffected Afghans fearful of opposing the Taliban and increasingly disillusioned with their own government.

Overall, "there doesn't seem to be a lot of progress being made. . . . I would think that from [the Taliban] standpoint, things are looking decent," the intelligence official said....

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Posted on 11/25/2007 6:33 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 25 November 2007
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Are you feeling too relaxed? Do your nerves need jangling? Do you want to rouse the savage beast in your pet? Have you any glassware that needs shattering? Or are you just a poor singer who needs to know that there's someone worse? Click here for Florence Foster Jenkins, who sounds for all the world like a hyena being machine-gunned:

Some background:

From her recordings, it is apparent that Jenkins had little sense of pitch and rhythm and was barely capable of sustaining a note. Her accompanist can be heard making adjustments to compensate for her tempo variations and rhythmic mistakes. Her dubious diction, especially in foreign language songs, is also noteworthy. Nonetheless, she became tremendously popular in her unconventional way. Her audiences apparently loved her for the amusement she provided rather than her musical ability. Critics often described her work in a backhanded way that may have served to pique public curiosity.

Despite her patent lack of ability, Jenkins was firmly convinced of her greatness. She compared herself favourably to the renowned sopranos Frieda Hempel and Luisa Tetrazzini, and dismissed the laughter which often came from the audience during her performances as coming from her rivals consumed by "professional jealousy." She was aware of her critics, however, saying "People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

Is there a word for unintentionally damning oneself with faint praise? Probably not, because it happens so rarely. Tracey Emin and other "artists" could learn a thing or two from Florence Foster Jenkins.

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Posted on 11/25/2007 6:13 AM by Mary Jackson
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Sunday, 25 November 2007
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W.C. Fields should not be confused with or W.C. Boggs, the toilet factory boss in "Carry On At Your Convenience". Still less should he be confused with W.G. Grace, C.B. Fry or C. P. Snow. W. C. Fields famously said: "Never work with animals or children." He sounds to have been something of a professional grumpy git, but anyone who dislikes teetotallers can't be all bad. Click on the picture to see him juggling. This is NER's very first juggling interlude.

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Posted on 11/25/2007 5:27 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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Ignore the aggressive name and the ludicrous punky hairstyles - this is a lovely song:

Strange Little Girl

The Stranglers did some good punk, but there was much more to them. They were never really a punk band - they could play.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 6:07 PM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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Yes, this should be shown everywhere, all over the world, especially by the BBC. Although, as I have said before, the BBC is not monolithic in the way Americans think it is, and has in fact done some excellent Panorama and Newsnight programmes that are critical of aspects of Islam, the main news is awful, especially Jeremy Bowen.

In the meantime, let's hope Henshaw does sue for libel. Our libel laws have rightly been criticised as being weighted in favour of the plaintiff, but this could come in useful here. If he wins, the publicity will do the anti-jihad cause no harm at all.

However biased our government and mainstream media may be, we have the internet, and the truth about Islam can't be suppressed for ever.

The full Dispatches Undercover Mosque programme is available in a single video, here at YouTube. Watch it if you haven't already done so.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 5:19 PM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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"Turkey is a secular nation with a majority Muslim population. By welcoming Turkey into Europe we will prove how two cultures can not only exist together, but thrive together, as partners in the modern world." -- from the remarks here by Jack Straw

Turkey is a "secular nation" with a "majority Muslim population"? Turkey is, despite more than 80 years of Kemalism, with its systematic campaign to suppress Islam's political and social power, not nearly "secular" enough. Islam is back -- not that it ever went away -- and how. Erbakan, and then Erdogan, and then Abdullah Gul, and all the rest of it. The cunning assault on the legitimacy of the army, the final upholder of Kemalism. The assault from within the universities on secular rectors and professors, and the determination to renew state support for Muslim schools and openness to government hiring of graduates of strictly Muslim schools and colleges. No, Turkey is not what it may once have been -- say, in 1940, or even 1950. Islam keeps coming back.

And Turkey does not have a "majority Muslim population." Its population is 99% Muslim. Does Jack Straw recall just how, over the last century, such a feat was accomplished? Does he know that Constantinople in 1914 was 50% non-Muslim, and that Turkey as a whole was about one-quarter non-Muslim? What happened to all those non-Muslims, Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Levantines of every description? Did he forget, or did he never know?

And now he wants to admit this nation of 70 million Muslims, a nation becoming more dangerously Muslim every day -- proving that those who count on Ataturks can't count on very much, for the power of a potentially resurgent Islam never disappears, but always comes back -- into the European Union, because this will "prove" that Islam and the West can get along. How does he know? Has he carefully studied, since he's had time on his hands, the texts of Islam? Has he carefully studied the 1350-year history of Islam's encounters with, conquest or attempted conquest of, non-Muslim lands and peoples, so that Islam can everywhere dominate, and Muslims rule everywhere? Why does he think it would be different if those 70 million Muslim Turks, reproducing far faster than any of Europe's non-Muslims, added to the tens of millions of Muslims -- Algerians, Moroccans, Egyptians, Tunisians, Somalis, Kurds, Iraqis, Syrians, Lebanese Muslims, and of course "Palestinians" -- already in Europe, were allowed to travel freely throughout Schengenland, that is, all of visa-free Europe? What does he think would be the effect of making it easier for other Middle Eastern people, Arabs and Kurds not Turks, to enter the E.U. as Turks? For who, among those checking the borders, will be able to easily separate out the strange Turks from the just-as-strange Arabs, carrying false Turkish passports? A security nightmare, and a civilizational bet that only someone nearly insane would wish to make.

Jack Straw is nearly insane, for he ignores the texts, and the tenets, and the attitudes, and the 1350 years of history, all of which point in a direction opposite to the one in which he is so determinedly faced. Jack Straw -- who has never abandoned his National Union of Students worldview -- knows nothing of Islam, and is, in general, an ignoramus about the relevant history. Some may ascribe his views to the well-known phenomenon of certain people compensating for their antecedents (as the joke goes, Jewish "only on his parents' side"). But in Straw’s case it is sheer ignorance, and the negligence which allows the high-and-mighty, once they are high and very mighty, to forego the study of those matters which, in fact, they ought long ago to have thoroughly familiarized themselves with -- in Straw's case, the tenets of Islam has contained in Qur'an, hadith, sira, and enshrined in the shari'a, and the history of the Middle East. He is not alone; anyone familiar with the pronouncements of assorted "Middle Eastern experts" ranging from the egregious David Satterfield, that promoter of the "Arabness" of Lebanon at Taif, and of Djerijian, or of tireless negotiators such as Dennis Ross, knows that these people know nothing significant about Islam, or its well-established rules concerning Infidels and treaties with Infidels. Jack Straw, in his foolishness, is simply a representative of the Western elites that have turned their heads away from the Jihad, focused manically on the "two tiny peoples" business in Israel, and permitted the demographic invasion, and possible conquest from within, of Western Europe (not to mention the massacres of Christians all over the Muslim East, and outside as well, in Sudan, and Pakistan, and as far as Indonesia, where 2,300 churches were destroyed in one year alone).

Esdrujula Explanation. Timidity. Rigidity. Cupidity. And what's that other one? I keep forgetting, but it's the most important one of all.

Yes. Right.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 2:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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"Study Jihadists, take advantage of DOD foreign culture, language programs, Guardmembers urged"
-- from the title of this article by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill, posted at the National Guard website

Yes, but more needs to be done. There has to be a way to make sure that those who study Islam do so properly, learning not from the propagandists but from those whose work and understanding of Islam is something that two distinct imagined audiences would recognize as something like the truth.

The first of those two audiences consists of the great Western scholars of Islam, the "Orientalists" -- who lived and studied and taught and wrote during the Golden Age, roughly that century between 1860 and 1960, before the Great Inhibition set in. Such people as C. Snouck Hurgronje and Joseph Schacht and Arthur Jeffrey and Henri Lammens and Edmond Fagnan and Georges Vajda and dozens of others, English and German, American and French, Italian and Spanish, Bulgarian and Serbian, Hungarian and Polish, Indian and even Christian experts on Islam from among the Maronites and other besieged non-Muslim populations in Dar al-Islam.

The second audience that needs to see how Islam is being presented to American military forces, the regular army, the Reservists, and the National Guard, consists of those who, through no fault of their own, were born into Islam and raised in states, or societies, suffused with Islam. Such people as Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina, and many others know exactly what Islam is all about, know what is said to Infidels and all the tricks of apologists and sinister propagandists, the deliberate misreadings, or omissions, or misinterpretations fed the gullible Infidels, and they -- like the scholars of yore, done such damage by the likes of Edward Said (but buy, and read, Ibn Warraq's just-published reply to Said, "The Defense of the West")- will be able to keep the American defense establishment from listening to all the wrong people, and not only listening to, but fondly believing what they have to say, no matter how transparently misleading and absurd it may be.

This requires a pedagogic czar, or a board of czarevitches. Certainly Wafa Sultan, and Robert Spencer, and Ibn Warraq, and Martin Kramer (from the within-the-pale list, as currently defined) would be good names to start with.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 2:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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HIZB ut-Tahrir (HT), the controverisal global Islamic party active in Waltham Forest, is currently distributing leaflets in the borough as part of its bid to change the political system in Pakistan.
They are inviting people to a conference next Saturday in central London to discuss the setting up of a Khilafat (caliphate) state in Pakistan.
HT wants to replace what it describes as "failed politicians" like Gen Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto with a "new type of leadership which looks after the needs of the people according to the Quran and Sunnah".
Last Saturday, HT held a peaceful demonstration in central Walthamstow, talking to passers-by and handing out literature.
HT, which is opposed to Western-style democracy because it means voting for parties which don't subscribe to Islamic law, has been banned in many countries.
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Posted on 11/24/2007 1:34 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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The documentary maker cleared by regulators of misleadingly editing a Channel 4 programme about extreme Islamic preachers is considering legal action.

David Henshaw, the managing director of Hardcash Productions which made the Dispatches film Undercover Mosque, said he was still "very, very angry".

With the backing of Channel 4 he hoped to launch a libel action against the West Midlands police and a Crown Prosecution Service lawyer who was quoted in a joint press release accusing Hardcash Productions of "completely distorting" what some of the preachers were saying. The media regulator dismissed the complaint saying it was a legitimate investigation. --from this news article

Henshaw's documentary should be shown all over the Western world. And one would like American channels, in particular, to pay handsomely for the broadcast rights. One hopes he and his production company will profit and go on to make other indispensable films of this nature (along with whatever else they do) and also encourage others. Have such films appeared at any festival of documentaries anywhere, to date, in the Western world? We've had all the movies about the perfidy of America and the West. What about investigative journalism, captured on screen, about the least investigated, given the size and permanence of the threat, menace to our legal and political institutions since the Nazis appeared ready to take over Europe.

Has it been bought for broadcasting on television in the U.S.? In Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Korea? In India? Has it been shown in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden? What about Russia? Georgia, Armenia? No? Why not?

Is the problem of the mosques that present one face or facade to the Infidels, and meanwhile, for Muslims only, present inside the mosque, when Infidels are thought not to be present, quite another, merely a problem in one or two mosques in the Midlands of England? Or is it a problem with mosques all over the Infidel world, and do they all require constant monitoring in order to prevent them from being...true to themselves?

What do you think? An isolated problem, admittedly captured cleverly on film by Mr. Henshaw and his crew. Or a nearly-universal problem, one that needs to be brought through his film, so that Infidels can be warned, and others may be prompted to investigate mosques in their country or region, one hopes to be supported, and indeed encouraged by the security services, to do what so far the Western security services have been too timid to do: broadcast what is going on, filmed if possible, in the mosques and the Muslim bookstores and on the street, wherever there are Muslim populations gathered into communities in the Infidel, and still dangerously ignorant and unwary West.

Oh, after making sure the film is run and re-run on the BBC -- that's the least its Board of Governors can do, given the BBC's hideous coverage of Islam and the Middle East -- why not a showing in Parliament? A knighthood for Henshaw, for Services Rendered? The sky's the limit, or should be.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 11:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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About time too. Enough with the hippy guitars already. From the Telegraph.

The Pope is considering a dramatic overhaul of the Vatican in order to force a return to traditional sacred music.

After reintroducing the Latin Tridentine Mass, the Pope wants to widen the use of Gregorian chant and baroque sacred music.

In an address to the bishops and priests of St Peter's Basilica, he said that there needed to be "continuity with tradition" in their prayers and music.

He referred pointedly to "the time of St Gregory the Great", the pope who gave his name to Gregorian chant.

Gregorian chant has been reinstituted as the primary form of singing by the new choir director of St Peter's, Father Pierre Paul.

He has also broken with the tradition set up by John Paul II of having a rotating choir, drawn from churches all over the world, to sing Mass in St Peter's.

The Pope has recently replaced the director of pontifical liturgical celebrations, Archbishop Piero Marini, with a man closer to his heart, Mgr Guido Marini. It is now thought he may replace the head of the Sistine Chapel choir, Giuseppe Liberto.

The International Church Music Review recently criticised the choir, saying: "The singers wanted to overshout each other, they were frequently out of tune, the sound uneven, the conducting without any artistic power, the organ and organ playing like in a second-rank country parish church."...

I hope they do away with the Aretha Franklin caterwauling too.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 10:50 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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"Chechen leader calls for head scarves for women," says DW.

Head scarf or headscarf? Head scarves, head scarfs, headscarves or headscarfs?

I'd go for headscarf and headscarfs, probably. But I'll eat my hat if I can make my mind up.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 10:29 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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A previous posting (March 28, 2007) on Howard:

"One is that the Howard government has been seen to be bending over backwards to please the Americans, and this coincides with a huge increase in anti-war sentiment (given too that the pretexts for the Iraq war, WMD and al-Qaeda links have been shown to be pure BS)."-- from a reader

One more reason to get out of Iraq. For others, who are the most natural allies of the United States, may lose power -- and only because they have embraced, in a folie a deux, the mad Bush policy of remaining in Tarbaby Iraq. The Howard government is likely to lose, and if it does, it will be in the main because of the war in Iraq, which is unpopular -- and rightly unpopular, because it makes no sense.

It makes no sense because no one has explained how a unified Iraq, an Iraq in which Kurds remain, will come about. Those Kurds will not acquiesce to having only autonomy under Arabs who have mistreated them, and will if given a chance continue to mistreat them (as Arab Muslims do everywhere to non-Arab Muslims, in North Africa, in the Sudan, even in the camps of Afghanistan). No one has explained how an Iraq will develop in which somehow the Sunnis acquiesce in the Shi'a possessing real power, and permanently (whatever plausible "oil-sharing" arrangements are agreed to under the watchful eyes of the Americans, and which can be torn up just as soon as they leave). No one has explained how such an Iraq, if it does come about, will further the larger interests of Infidels.

It is depressing to see the Howard Government imperiled, as it has the right views on Islam, but the wrong views on Iraq. (The wrong views are based on a failure to study the matter independently, or based on a desire to trust or support Bush coute que coute, no matter how nonsensical his policy. They are based as well on the humanly understandable, but still unacceptable sticking to a policy just because in so doing, one is sticking it to people one cannot stand--the Australian equivalents of Cindy Sheehan, or Jane Fonda, or others of that dismal ilk.)

The Howard Government doesn't have to go down with the S. S. Naufragium, Bush's sinking ship of foolish state. It should support the worldwide attempt by Infidels, in any way, to fend off the attacks of Islam -- whether it be by publishing those Danish cartoons, or raiding this or that mosque, or changing immigration policies, or seizing assets of this or that phony Muslim charity, or bombing Iran's nuclear facilities, or demanding an end to Jizyah payments by Western governments. (Those governments take their own taxpayers' money and giving it to Egypt, to Pakistan, and to the "Palestinians," who are merely the local Arabs. Renamed, they have become the obvious shock troops of the Lesser Jihad -- the first one, but hardly the most important one -- against Israel.)

Bush has done such damage to the cause of the Infidels, in his stubbornness and confusion. And he is even causing damage to those who are America's natural friends abroad, but who, as with the Howard government in Australia, have hitched their wagon to the wrong, most idiotic, star.

There are so many things about Bush and Tarbaby Iraq to infuriate the clear-headed resisters of Islam and its adherents -- including a few American generals who, now leaving or about to leave the military, will, one hopes, let Bush, and his obstinate and self-defeating policy, have it. With both barrels.

[Postcript, November 25, 2007]: By the time its election was held, Australia had only 500 troops left in Iraq. Not enough to make any difference. So they were there as a symbol. But as a symbol of what? A symbol of the Howard government's commitment to Bush, to "fighting them over there so that we wouldn't have to fight them over here, etc." But they were a symbol, to the Australian electorate, of an unacceptable obstinacy, a commitment that made no sense. There were other issues between Howard and Rudd, but had the former, a year or two ago, announced that he was determined to remove all of the Australian contingent from Iraq, and if he had accomplished this, say, by this past summer, showing that while he was firm on the threat of Jihad, and would tolerate no nonsense in dealing with Muslim threats within Australia, nor would, it is clear, Peter Costello, his likely successor in the party, he would have put the Iraq mess behind him which in the end helped to drag him down. Similarly, any Republican candidate for the President who continues to insist that "we are winning in Iraq" -- a new, and entirely implausible notion, still based on the wrong idea of what constitutes, for America, "victory in Iraq" --and that he will keep troops there, or more than a handful, unaware of how the squandering of men, money, and materiel, for goals that are both unattainable, and the wrong goals -- will very likely lose. And if he loses, and the American forces leave (as they should) Iraq much more quickly -- ditching Maliki is not miching mallecho -- the other responses of the American government to the world-wide Jihad, including ways to deal with the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, and demographic conquest -- not to mention domestic legislation to deal with an internal threat, are -- as it seems now -- all likely to be enfeebled. There is always room for Hope -- here, scoot over so she can sit right down here -- that some political figures, in both parties, who should know better, will come to their senses in time.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 8:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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This is the scene where Daphne utters the immortal line: "I've been pinched in the elevator. And look, I'm not even pretty." Click on the picture to find out what Daphne does with her Bull Fiddle. Then answer the two questions below.

  1. Does she use a bow or does she just pluck it?
  2. Can films get any funnier than this?
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Posted on 11/24/2007 8:38 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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Cannistraro hasn't been in the government, or the C.I.A., since 1990 or so? He's been remote, out of any loop, for nearly 20 years? Yet he continues to be gravely consulted by others, and even employed as a television consultant and "expert" on "terrorism"? Isn't it obvious he is either an idiot, moral and geopolitical, or something even more sinister? He should not be employed by any television network, nor consulted as an "expert" by any journalist, about anything. What Emerson has put up is quite enough, in a sane well-ordered society, to condemn Cannistraro to the equivalent of Coventry. He's worthless as an "expert"-- no, worse than worthless. He's dangerously misleading, and clearly very much parti pris. How many dopes, exactly, did or does the C.I.A., employ? There seem to be quite a few.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 8:31 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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NEW DELHI: A controversial Bangladeshi author was sent to the Indian capital under armed escort Friday after authorities ordered her to leave western Rajasthan state fearing violence by Muslims who accused her of insulting Islam. --from this news item

That's it? The Indian government won't call out the army to protect her? It didn't insist on forming a Special Guard, composed entirely of of non-Muslim troops, to protect Taslima Nasrin, and others who have already defected, or who in the future may defect, from the Army of Islam, and have every right to speak out about what Islam, in their experience, inculcates, what the texts and tenets and attitudes and atmospherics of Islam are all about? And if Taslima Nasrin is transferred to Delhi, "for her own protection," and Muslims there -- or elsewhere in India for that matter -- cause mayhem and even murder as part of their protest against her presence anywhere on Indian soil, will the Indian government ask her, or force her, to leave, or will it read the Muslim leaders the riot act, and tell them that free speech in advanced democracies protects the very speech that Taslima Nasrin bravely insists upon uttering, or declaring, and that Indian democracy cannot accept any further threats -- threats that should be met by rounding up everyone who makes them, and everyone who helps disseminate them. A hard line now, so as to put things clearly, and unambiguously. Otherwise the day when non-Muslims in India forthrightly admit to themselves the nature, and therefore the permanent menace to themselves, of Islam, will merely be delayed, and dangerously.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 8:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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Sordi takes an exam testing his knowledge of  French, hoping thereby  to raise his pay grade and rank within the carabinieri.

Toward the end, his "compagno di stanza" or barracks-mate is briefly called forward by Sordi to support  his claim that he has spent the last year studying French practically non-stop. That young actor looks very much like the young Nino Manfredi, later to be almost as famous, for different kinds of roles, as Sordi himself.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=U7LsMAcD6Js

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Posted on 11/24/2007 8:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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This theory, silly as it is, nonetheless is the natural result of our loss of piety toward reality - a tiny portion of which we can observe and begin to understand. Modern science and philosophy forgets this and makes man is the measure of all things. According to this latest version of quantum theory man is also the controller of all things simply by his observation of reality and not only that, we have doomed the entire cosmos by observing it. No, they're not kidding. From the Telegraph:

The startling claim is made by a pair of American cosmologists investigating the consequences for the cosmos of quantum theory, the most successful theory we have. Over the past few years, cosmologists have taken this powerful theory of what happens at the level of subatomic particles and tried to extend it to understand the universe, since it began in the subatomic realm during the Big Bang.

But there is an odd feature of the theory that philosophers and scientists still argue about. In a nutshell, the theory suggests that we change things simply by looking at them and theorists have puzzled over the implications for years.

They often illustrate their concerns about what the theory means with mind-boggling experiments, notably Schrodinger's cat in which, thanks to a fancy experimental set up, the moggy is both alive and dead until someone decides to look, when it either carries on living, or dies. That is, by one interpretation (by another, the universe splits into two, one with a live cat and one with a dead one.)

New Scientist reports a worrying new variant as the cosmologists claim that astronomers may have accidentally nudged the universe closer to its death by observing dark energy, a mysterious anti gravity force which is thought to be speeding up the expansion of the cosmos.

The damaging allegations are made by Profs Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and James Dent of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, who suggest that by making this observation in 1998 we may have caused the cosmos to revert to an earlier state when it was more likely to end. "Incredible as it seems, our detection of the dark energy may have reduced the life-expectancy of the universe," Prof Krauss tells New Scientist.

The team came to this depressing conclusion by calculating how the energy state of our universe - a kind of summation of all its particles and all their energies - has evolved since the big bang of creation 13.7 billion years ago.

Some mathematical theories suggest that, in the very beginning, there was a void that possessed energy but was devoid of substance. Then the void changed, converting energy into the hot matter of the big bang. But the team suggests that the void did not convert as much energy to matter as it could, retaining some, in the form of what we now call dark energy, which now accelerates the expansion of the cosmos.

Like the decay of a radioactive atom, such shifts in energy state happen at random and it is possible that this could trigger a new big bang. The good news is that theory suggests that the universe should remain in its current state.

But the bad is that quantum theory says that whenever we observe or measure something, we could stop it decaying due what is what is called the "quantum Zeno effect," which suggests that if an "observer" makes repeated, quick observations of a microscopic object undergoing change, the object can stop changing - just as a watched kettle never boils.

In this case however, it turns out that quantum mechanics implies that if an unstable system has survived for far longer than the average such system should, then the probability that it will continue to survive decreases more slowly than it otherwise would. By resetting the clock, the survival probability would now once again fall exponentially.

"The intriguing question is this," Prof Krauss told the Telegraph. "If we attempt to apply quantum mechanics to the universe as a whole, and if our present state is unstable, then what sets the clock that governs decay? Once we determine our current state by observations, have we reset the clock? If so, as incredible as it may seem, our detection of dark energy may have reduced the life expectancy of our universe."...

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Posted on 11/24/2007 7:32 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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R.E. Smith, Jr. writes in the American Thinker:

It amazes me that American Jews continue to hope for peace and reconciliation between their Israeli brethren and Arabs -- "hopelessness is no option although…," writes New York Times columnist Roger Cohen. Then, he proceeds to describe why it’s hopeless.

Puzzling, too, is that American Jews often blame Israel for conflicts with the Palestinians, or expect Israeli leaders to capitulate on unreasonable Arab demands, the essence of which is: give up all land and get out, or die.

Robert Goldwasser and Michael Ross, Jewish community leaders in the Raleigh, N. C. area, write that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert must convince his people that additional "compromises…will lead to a genuine and durable peace." In their dreams.
Another "Israeli-Palestinian summit" is planned later this month to be held in Annapolis, Md. Goldwasser and Ross hope that, this time, "serious negotiations" will "map out a comprehensive way to move forward." Delusional gibberish.

Hope is naturally human. But continuing with the same 40-year strategy (U. S.- sponsored international conferences) and expecting different results, clearly shows mental disorder. During the past seven U. S. president’s administrations we have had the Rogers Plan, an Interim Agreement, Camp David Accords, the Reagan Plan, the Shultz Plan, a Madrid Conference, the Oslo Accords, Camp David II, and the Road Map to peace. The Annapolis Conference will be the next round in a long series of historic international failures...
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Posted on 11/24/2007 7:16 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 24 November 2007
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The Australian Prime Minister should not have hitched his wagon to the Light-Unto-The-Muslim-Nations policy in Iraq. This is a clear sign for Republican candidates in the US to begin articulating a policy on the over-all war that is more realistic. Supporting the idea that we should stay and try to hold Iraq together forever is a losing proposition. The majority of the people are able to separate the interests of America and the interests of Iraq even if this is beyond the abilities of our Secretary of State.

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's Labor Party swept into power at national elections on Saturday, propelling 50-year-old former diplomat Kevin Rudd into office on a wave of support for generational change.

The surge to Labor left conservative Prime Minister John Howard struggling to hold on to even his own parliamentary seat, which he has held since 1974, putting him in danger of becoming the first prime minister since 1929 to lose his constituency.

Howard, who had won four consecutive elections, conceded his government had lost power in front of a crowd of supporters in Sydney late on Saturday, saying he had phoned Rudd to congratulate him on Labor's victory.

"This is a great democracy and I want to wish Mr. Rudd well. He assumes the mantle of the 26th prime minister of Australia," Howard said. "We bequeath to him a nation that is stronger and prouder and more prosperous than it was 11 and a half years ago."

Rudd presented himself as a new generation leader compared with Howard, 68, promising to pull Australian combat troops out of Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, further isolating Washington on both issues.

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Posted on 11/24/2007 6:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Friday, 23 November 2007
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Not only does Hugh undermine my claim to be the first person to value "mit the no napkins" as the best line in The Apartment, he also has the chutzpah to call me a "young whippersnapper":

whippersnapper

noun

1. colloq

      An insignificant and cheeky young lad or any lowly person who behaves impudently.

Etymology: 17c.

I don't much feel like a young lad. Actually that's not quite true, but you know what I mean.

I am not a young whippersnapper. I am a whippersnapper of a certain age, or a whippersnapper in middle youth. Why must whippersnappers always be young, and codgers always old? Can't a young codger get a fair crack of the whip and an old whipper get a fair snap at it?

Apropos of nothing in particular, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind readers that the Dutch for whipped cream is slagroom.

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Posted on 11/23/2007 5:09 PM by Mary Jackson
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Friday, 23 November 2007
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Movie theatres are a favorite target of maddened Muslims of the poorer sort. They may be unaware of the kinds of material their ruling classes possess for private delectation, and target the products of Bollywood and Hollywood with equal outrage.

The most famous example of this is the burning down, with 400-500 people inside, of a cinema in Abadan, Iran, during the days when Khomeini-maddened crowds were toppling the pillars and pylons of the Shah's establishment. They were inflamed by those audiocassettes made in France by Khomeini. From his French-police-protected exile in Neauphle-le-chateau, he made the tapes which were then sent to Iran, recopied by the bazaris, and distributed far and wide by a nest of mullahs. And those mad Muslim mobs his tapes enflamed were similar to the maddened Muslim mobs that attacked American institutions, including the embassy and consulate in Pakistan, when one group of Muslims tried to seize the Mecca mosque and wrest it from the control of the Al-Saud. The House of Saud was properly viewed as corrupt, and necessarily viewed, by those same Muslims, as "Infidels" -- because the worldview of Muslims always requires that everything, including indignation at greed or corruption, be phrased solely by reference to Islam, in terms that will arouse Muslims.

The short-sighted French, so oblivious to their own future interests (as teachers of property like to say, when they inflict archaic topics on helpless law students), had previously given refuge to Khomeini (whose horrific views had all been published, and were accessible to any Farsi-reader -- and surely there were such people in the employ of the French security services). But were those security services, or the French diplomatic corps, or the French government, any worse then than they are now, or than the security services, diplomats, and government officials of other Western countries, so slow to come to their senses?

There is nothing secret about what Islam teaches. Nothing mysterious about the actual passages in Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira. Bin Laden is not a bad Muslim. Al-Zawahiri is not a bad Muslim. For that matter, the views of any intelligent Muslim cleric who knows his Islam will, in the attitudes toward Infidels, be hair-raising -- unless he simply chooses to ignore what Islam teaches, or to lie about, or fail to recognize for what they are, his own views.

Well done, Deuxieme Bureau! Well done, Couve de Murville, Jacques Chirac, Hubert Vedrine. Well done, Dominique de Villepin. And well done too, all those English and American diplomats who for decades kept telling us that Saudi Arabia was, is, cannot but be, our "staunch ally" -- and that we need not, in 1970, or 1973, or 1979, or 1989, or 1999, or now, go hellbent for leather on an energy program that, in its size and scope, will show that at long last people have come to their senses, and realize the OPEC oil revenues, or much of them, will inevitably fund the Jihad all over the world. It is not a question of this or that bank account being closed down. There are a thousand ways to transfer money. The Saudis and other Arabs know them all. The very amounts available to be transferred have to be diminished. For that money goes to build mosques, to support mosques, to do the same with madrasas, to pay for propaganda and Western public-relations firms that serve any master that pays them, even a declared enemy of their own civilization, the Western hirelings of every kind -- professors, diplomats, ex-intelligence agents, journalists -- who will always have their hand out, ready to provide whatever plausible excuse is needed, and serves the current purpose.

Saudi Arabian and other OPEC oil revenues have to both go down, or be seen to be on a downward slope. Every conceivable way of soaking up the discretionary income of the Saudis and others should be employed -- seizure of assets abroad to pay for monitoring the very Muslims the Saudi money helps inflame, head-taxes on Saudis who wish to visit the West, whether "students" or students, or simply the rich Arabs who need medical care, entertainment, brothels and fun fairs and non-stop shopping in the West. They should pay far more than they do for the privilege even of stepping on Western land, considering what is in their mental baggage, and what harm they have done, are doing, and will -- if allowed -- do.

There should be no more French or other Infidel protection for those who, like Khomeini, whip up crowds through audiocassettes to burn down cinemas. And there should be no more access to Infidel hospitals, or buying of property for future safe-houses, by those who, like the Saudi rulers, do nothing about cassettes calling for the destruction of such dens of iniquity as the local Cineplex. (The grand picture-palaces of yore in America and England often had such names as Grenada or Alhambra, meant to evoke a world of exotic, and pleasing, fantasy -- forever changed as recovered civilizational memory has at long last allowed to dawn, here and there, a more realistic sense of what Islam is all about.)

One does not have to approve of most movies in order to wish that cinemas not be burned down. They are at their worst dens of stupidity, not dens of iniquity. A tribute to Radix malorum pretending, as it so often does, to be something else. But then something comes along that's better. "City Lights" or "Some Like It Hot" or "Dr. Strangelove" or Doillon's "Ponette" for example, which takes me back to my imaginary days in maternelle, at Ecole Jules-Ferry on rue Gambetta, running around with that little cartable on my back, and then in class taking out my little cahier upon which I could write absolutely nothing, because I was then as unable to write as 50% or 60% or 80% of the adult population of the Muslim world, despite the umma al-islamiyya having received $10 trillion in revenues from oil and gas since 1973 alone.

And in my imaginary maternelle I was 4 years old. What's their excuse?

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Posted on 11/23/2007 4:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 23 November 2007
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From AFP and the Copenhagen Post
A Copenhagen court on Friday sentenced two suspected Islamist militants to 11 years in prison and a third to a four-year jail term for planning terrorist bombings in Denmark.
The men were found guilty of acquiring chemicals and laboratory instruments to make triacetone triperoxide (TATP) explosives, often used by Islamist suicide bombers. After hearing evidence for nearly 12 weeks, it took a jury less than a day's worth of deliberation to find three men guilty of planning an act of terrorism
TATP devices were used in the July 2005 London bombings.
Mohammad Zaher, a 34-year-old Dane of Palestinian origin, and Ahmed Khaldhahi, a 22-year-old Iraqi Kurd, were sentenced to 11 years each, while Abdallah Andersen, a 32-year-old Dane who converted to Islam, received a four-year sentence.
"There is every indication that the group had concrete and serious discussions about three possible targets in Copenhagen: the city hall square, the parliament and political meeting (areas)," prosecutor Charlotte Alsing Juul said Friday, insisting the plans "endangered state security."
The four men on trial, who frequented a mosque known for its radical interpretations of Islam, were part of a group of nine arrested in a September 2006 swoop in Odense in central Denmark.
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Posted on 11/23/2007 4:26 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 23 November 2007
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Friday, 23 November 2007
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Egypt is a corrupt country out of control. By permitting successive governments to count on American support, the viciousness and corruption are allowed to continue without any consequences. From 1882 to 1922, the British brought some semblance of efficiency and a reduction of corruption to the Egyptian Civil Service. Even when they left, the experience of their presence, the English presence, and obvious Western power and civilizational superiority, allowed for signs of secularism. Few women, for example, wore a hijab in Egyptian cities in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s. And advanced Egyptians, conscious of being "Egyptian" and not "Arab," sought (vainly) to find a way to "reform" Islam; Abduh and Afghani had not yet been challenged, and overwhelmed by, the Muslim Brotherhood. But the ancien regime of fat Farouk came to an end when Gamal Abdel Nasser and Naguib and the other colonels arrived on the scene. There was the famous rioting against Jews, Copts, and Europeans, in Alexandria. Almost overnight, Greeks, Italians, Jews, and many others who had lived there had their property stolen by the Egyptians, who called it "nationalization." The Egyptian Muslims who ran everything took billions of dollars in property, the fruit in some cases of family entrepreneurial activity that had gone on for a century or more.

Following Nasser was Saint Sadat: the same Sadat imprisoned by the British for his pro-Nazi activities during World War II. He had been a loyalist of the intolerable Nasser, whose pan-Arabism, like all pan-Arabism, has been traditionally presented in the West as an alternative to Islam, hostile to Islam and its goals. It is true that both Nasser, and Saddam Hussein, the two most famous despots with ambitions to be leaders with pan-Arab appeal, were often described, inaccurately, as "secularists" because the opposition that most concerned each was mosque-based: in the case of Nasser, the Muslim Brotherood; in the case of Saddam Hussein, Shi'a mosques of the Shi'a majority opposed to his Sunni despotism. And each dealt with his respective political opponents with wonted ruthlessness. But Pan-Arabism should more accurately be seen as a subset, a limited version with more modest initial goals -- today Arabdom, tomorrow the world. And since Islam is a vehicle for Arab imperialism, pan-Arabism means, necessarily, promotion of Islam, and vice-versa. The goal of a unified Arab state, the goal that Nasser was said to embody, was merely a way-station on the path -- fi sabil Allah -- to spreading Islam until it, and therefore the Arabs (the "best of peoples") would everywhere dominate. Pan-Arabism was not, as so many wrong-headed analysts would have it, a movement hostile to Islam or to what is often called, misleadingly, "pan-Islamism" (which is merely the geopolitical dimension of mainstream Islam).

Jimmy Carter rewarded Saint Sadat for deigning to accept all of the Sinai -- territory that morally Egypt had no right to receive back yet again. Egypt, after all, had lost in a war of aggression started when Nasser demanded that U Thant pull out the U.N. peacekeepers, and then proceeded to block the Straits of Tiran in May 1967. Yet Carter rewarded Sadat and Egypt with nearly $2 billion a year in American foreign aid -- which foreign aid became automatic, a tribute never to be interrupted, in other words, Jizyah. After Saint Sadat died, possibly in his dubious honor, the American government continued to give Egypt huge amounts of aid.

This was essentially a bribe to get the Egyptians to pretend, minimally, to be living up to the Camp David Accords, imposed by Carter and Brzezinksi on the hapless Begin and his equally hapless associates. There was no need to bribe Egypt. It was getting quite enough with Israel's scrupulous handover, in three closely-timed tranches, of the entire Sinai, which Egypt did not deserve, and which Israel had been under no obligation to hand back. “Defensible and secure borders" under Resolution 242 -- itself a doubtful matter -- would certainly have included a large part of the Sinai, perhaps the same large part that only became part of Egypt, remember, in the 1920s.

But the Americans, Americans such as Carter, have for a half-century at the State Department mismanaged America's relations with Muslim Arab countries, and above all with the sinister Al-Saud who claim ownership of Saudi Arabia. They have failed completely to have understood Islam as any Western scholar of Islam, in the days before the Great Inhibition, would have understood it, or as John Wesley, John Quincy Adams, Alexis De Tocqueville, Winston Churchill, and a great many other important figures in the Western world grasped the nature of Islam. These men of the West grasped the nature and menace of Islam. Some (Churchill) had seen Muslim society though they never lived in Dar al-Islam, because they were very learned and very intelligent, and had wide experience of men and events. And others, who grew up within Dar al-Islam but managed to escape to the West, and in the free West were able to develop their thoughts more clearly, to compare the West with what they had known, and further, to express their thoughts even though murderous attempts are made to frighten and silence them. We know their names, added to every day: Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina, and so many other articulate defectors from the Army of Islam.

Long-suffering American taxpayers have given Egypt, a country that is not "our friend" and not "our ally" and because of Islam never can be "our friend" or "our ally," more than $60 billion. For that we have received nothing in return. Egypt remains a despotism. Egypt is one of the most anti-American and anti-Western countries in the world today. Egypt remains a world center of antisemitism, and all of those solemn commitments made by the Egyptian government about improving relations with Israel, about ceasing hostile propaganda toward Israel, and so on, have never, not in the slightest way, been honored. The agreement has always been a fraud and a farce, and yet neither the government of Israel nor the government of the United States has dared to call it that.

If there is an absence of open warfare between Egypt and Israel, that is only because there is the same absence of open warfare between Israel and Saudi Arabia, or Israel and Iraq. That is, the peace, narrowly defined, is kept only because of the perceived power of the IDF, and not for any other reason.

Time to end the disguised Jizyah of aid to malevolent Egypt, which behind the scenes is also running interference for the government in Khartoum, and to force Egypt to ask the rich Arabs for money. They can afford it. They are getting billions of dollars every single day, without lifting a finger. They can spare just a day's revenues, can't they, for Egypt, and those Egyptian members of the Umma?

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Posted on 11/23/2007 3:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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